Category Archives: Fuerza Bruta: Look up

turning over a new leaf…

I have started exercising again, watching my carbs and I am back on my weekly blog visit after a wild two months with more events than I can retell!

Tom McGunn, Garrett Johannsen, Jasmine McNeely and Bethany Thomas sing the National Anthem before the Taste of Chicago Concert.

The Broadway In Chicago concert at the Taste with Janet Davies – memorable from the beginning, with the Broadway In Chicago Players and their stirring rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, to end. Ten shows performed for 10 years of Broadway In Chicago. It was an amazing day with Broadway performers that flew in from various points and hung together under beautiful sunny Chicago skies – like a Broadway field trip.

Then there was the exciting opening and fond farewell to FUERZA BRUTA. It was one of my favorite shows that I was so hoping would take off but it was admittedly a stretch for Broadway In Chicago. While the audiences that saw it loved it, it just didn’t have the staying power that we had all hoped for, but what an adventure it was for all of us! We will miss all the gorgeous cast and crew as they travel back to Argentina.

Photo By Amy Boyle Photography

And then the opening of SHREK THE MUSICAL. WOW, it has been awesome! We had lots of excitement including the star of the show (native Chicagoan Eric Petersen) having his first child during previews as his wife delivered at Chicago’s own Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The Hospital and staff were so great and both Mom, Dad and the Hospital shared the new born princess Sophia with the world when they allowed ABC to come in and film the new happy family. Then on to a grand opening night with Jeffrey Katzenberg and the CEO and CFO of McDonalds (love that they stopped flipping hamburgers to enjoy a night of theatre and SHREK). That night was amazing – as the helicopters from Transformers 3 hovered 50 feet over Daley Plaza just a block away from the theatre, all of the celebrities arrived. And thankfully Transformers completed their filming 45 minutes prior to the start of the show – perfect timing. The performance was great – as Dean Richards says, “A Must See…for everyone from 8 to 80” and he is right! Such a funny, elaborate, great night out. I mean really? Who doesn’t like a good fart joke and tap dancing mice? And who showed up on the green carpet? None other than the four BILLYs from BILLY ELLIOT.

The stars of Billy Elliot walk the green carpet at the Shrek The Musical opening.

Speaking of BILLY ELLIOT, the show is steaming through the summer and if you are around you want to be sure to go and see it as it will only be here through January 15. Now is the time as they have the most amazing Back To School With Billy Program that includes Kids Free at the theatre with a paying adult. Check it out!

I couldn’t be happier with this summer – a true celebration of 10 years of Broadway In Chicago. In typical style, I was having so much fun – just couldn’t find the time to write.

More next week….

Eileen

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Filed under Billy Elliot the Musical, Broadway In Chicago, Cadillac Palace Theatre, Celebrity, Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre, Fuerza Bruta: Look up, Shrek The Musical

don’t rain on our parade

Broadway In Chicago has enjoyed participating in the Chicago Annual Pride Parade for a number of years.  This popular event, attended by more than 450,000 people, is always one of the highlights of our year, but it can come as quite a shock to unsuspecting “Pride Virgins.”  The crowd, couture and calidity can come as a surprise to anyone who has not experienced Pride in all of its glory.  It’s a test of endurance – nearly 3 ½ miles – but one that Broadway In Chicago is thrilled to undertake each year.

This year’s float featured BILLY ELLIOT, SHREK THE MUSICAL, FUERZA BRUTA: LOOK UP, DISNEY’S THE LION KING, TRACES,WICKED, HAIR and NOT WANTED ON THE VOYAGE.  Here are a few observational notes from this year’s Pride Virgins.

NICCI (Marketing Department, Broadway In Chicago): I approached the float Sunday morning when I realized:  I had never been to Pride.  I’ve been near it.  I lived in the heart of Boystown for two years, right off the parade route.  I’ve celebrated with a group of boys who were drunk with pride (or just drunk) and had managed to find their way into my apartment.  (I also found out that my front door lock was busted that day.)  I love my gay friends and encourage them to celebrate their pride every day.  So it was a shock to me when I realized that in five years of living in Chicago, I still had never seen the parade or witnessed what Boystown had to offer during its biggest holiday.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pretty sure it involved lots of glitter.  And it did.  Not just on the floats, but also on the revelers.  I applauded the drag queens, who were dressed to the nines, as if they didn’t even realize that it was 150 degrees outside.  I sweated through my BILLY ELLIOT rainbow-colored sticker and, ready to turn my leggings into cutoffs, saw someone in full Elizabethan costume!

At first, I felt a little silly handing out dog tags and whoopee cushions while dancing to Broadway tunes (not my usual music choice), but two blocks later, I was belting “Defying Gravity” and shaking it to “Hair” like I knew the words.  I knew that I’d have the chance to sit down, but there was too much fun to be had in the crowd.  I wasn’t even aware that my arms were being slow-roasted to a nice medium-well until the parade was over.

Overall, I wasn’t surprised by the noise or the grandeur of the parade.  I was overwhelmed by the camaraderie.  In a city where everyone keeps to themselves normally, we were talking to everybody.  I literally dropped my purse to help another float hang banners.  The float across the street lent us a staple gun.  I never once felt shy or awkward; I felt welcomed.  The Pride Parade was the best party I have ever been to, and I didn’t even know anybody there!  I’ll always look back at my first Pride fondly (unless this sticker-shaped tan line on my arm never goes away).

STEVE (Marketing Director, NOT WANTED ON THE VOYAGE): Goodness.  After a morning of torrential downpours, my hopes were low for the day of this parade.  With raincoat in hand and sunscreen nowhere to be seen, I left the house expecting that even this long-running Chicago tradition might not make it through the rain.  I was about as wrong as could be.  What followed was a day of endless sunshine, dog tag crazy fans, cut-off t-shirts and tan lines that we will be visible for weeks.  Thank you Chicago for letting your “Freak Flag Fly” and embracing us so warmly.

KOKO (Marketing & Communications Manager, Northwestern University): Thanks to everyone at Broadway in Chicago for hosting us on the float.  It was such a fun day!  Of course, my neck is sore from flipping my hair to the music, I have a bruise the size of an orange on my arm and gravel in my knee from when I wiped out and I look like a tomato…but I wouldn’t trade any of those things!  🙂

JUSTIN (Marketing Team, NOT WANTED ON THE VOYAGE): This was the first time I’ve ever been to a Pride Parade so I had no idea what to expect.  What an amazing experience it was to interact with thousands of happy people sharing so much love (never have so many people wanted to hug and kiss me since I was a baby!).  My favorite moment was dancing along the street and seeing so many people singing along to the songs blasted by Broadway In Chicago (there are more theatre enthusiasts than you might think)!  Singing showtunes and dancing down Chicago streets is something you can’t do everyday…let’s change that!

Thanks for everything PRIDEChicago.  We’ll see you again next year!

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Filed under American Musical Theatre Project, Billy Elliot the Musical, Broadway In Chicago, Disney's The Lion King, Fuerza Bruta: Look up, Hair, Northwestern University, Rock of Ages, Shrek The Musical, Traces, Wicked

look up

FUERZA BRUTA: LOOK UP is coming soon. Look in the Red Eye today for special pre-sale access to tickets!

If you want to see the coolest show to show up in Chicago for a while, you are going to want to buy your tickets to FUERZA BRUTA! This is a show that you will walk out of and think, “WOW! What a night! I am so cool to have done this…wait till my friends hear about this show!”

Gorgeous and talented performers from Argentina will invade Chicago soon, and performances begin Friday, May 21. The performers AND audience will share the stage of the Auditorium Theatre like never before – action will be in front of you, above you, beside you.

DO NOT WAIT! Now is the time to buy!  Exclusive access for Red Eye readers only so pick up a paper and turn to page 16 for the details. 

Experiential, exciting, heart pounding wonder – like nothing you have ever seen before!

-Eileen

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Filed under Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, Fuerza Bruta: Look up

lost and found

Recently, I decided that everyone deep down wants an adventure. For years I have been asking people who book theatre parties and tour groups, “What is the worst thing that has happened on one of your trips?” About 95% say, “It was the time that I lost someone.”

There are all sorts of wanderers. There is the student who wandered away at Mount Vernon. The V.P. who tried an interesting door in restaurant and was locked outside in the alley. The older woman who took the wrong path on the nature walk. Tour organizer tells me about mobilizing people to search and whether or not they called the police and then I ask, “Were they frightened? Was the lost person frightened?” Invariably the response is, “No. We were scared to death but the lost person thought we over reacted.”

Of course they weren’t frightened. They were having an adventure…something different and new. Lately at every tourism marketing conference that I attend, the experts tell me that everyone wants experiential trips. I think that means they want fun experiences but of course I am not a marketing person. I have tried to figure out how to make attending the theatre more “experiential.” But I think that I “got it” last week at an event for FUERZA BRUTA. This is the show that will both excite the senses and satisfy any cravings for wanderlust.

People will enter the grand lobby of the Auditorium Theatre which will be re-imagined as a bar/club and then head up onstage for show that will happen around, above, in front, behind them. When I first saw this amazing production from Argentina I was blown away. I watched videos and read reviews but I was still unprepared for how much fun I had. I felt like I was part of the show but not like one of those audience participation things where they bring you up and ask you where you are from. Things happened so fast I didn’t know where to look or move – thank goodness FUERZA BRUTA has unobtrusive wranglers who gently escorted us this way and that. I loved the music, swimmers in the pool above my head, the women who flew like butterflies high up on the walls, running man…everything.

And like the lady on the nature walk in the Grand Canyon, I had an adventure but the Park Service didn’t have to bring in search teams.

-Gemma

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Filed under Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, Fuerza Bruta: Look up